That's Not How the Story Goes!
How can you get your kids excited about writing? Surround them with excellent books, of course! Many little writers struggle for ideas (secretly, big writers do, too). One great source of inspiration? Classic fairy tales, folklore, and other storytime staples that can be retold by changing the ending, making the villain the hero, and otherwise twisting up the stories we know so well. Start by sharing these great stories below, and then write your own!
Have you ever seen a picture book so sweet and syrupy it makes you roll your eyes? Then Battle Bunny , written by John Sciezka and illustrated by Mac Burnett, is the book for you. Alex has received a boring book as a gift - Birthday Bunny - but he doesn't let it stay boring for long. With a ton of creative cross-outs and scribbles, Birthday Bunny becomes Battle Bunny, and a gentle story about a little bunny celebrating his birthday becomes the tale of a diabolical mastermind rabbit, out to conquer the world! Read Battle Bunny together, and then you and your child can make your own cross-out masterpiece. Grown ups, write a boring, simple story, and then let the kids go to town fixing it up, scribbling all over it, and adding in the good parts.
Fractured Fairy Tales
John Sciezka also has a couple of great picture books that take classic fairy tales and change them up. In The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, we get the big bad wolf's side of the story. He wasn't trying to hurt any pigs! He was just looking to borrow a little sugar to bake a cake for his granny. And that huffing and puffing? Just a little cold. In The Frog Prince, Continued, Sciezka picks up where the classic fairy tale leaves off. What do the frog prince and princess do after they get married? Do they have any kids? This is another great writing prompt: what do you think happens after "happily ever after" in Cinderella? In Sleeping Beauty? In Jack and the Beanstalk? I bet more magic and mayhem await these characters.
For more creative retellings, check out Interrupting Chicken, by David Ezra Stein. It's bedtime for Little Chicken, but every time Daddy tries to read her a bedtime story, Little Chicken interrupts to change the story to a happier ending! Little Red Riding Hood won't be talking to any strange wolves if Little Chicken has anything to say about it.
Not Your Typical Nursery Rhyme
Nursery rhymes are fair game for retelling, as with The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon, by Mini Grey. After the cow jumps over the moon, the dish and the spoon run away. But how do a dish and a spoon make it on their own in this crazy, mixed-up world? By putting on a vaudeville show, obviously. But things take a turn for the worse when dish and spoon have to borrow money from a dangerous bunch of knives. Be sure to read this aloud if you've ever wanted to explain the word "vaudeville" to a child.
A Great Idea...or Not
Lastly, if you haven't already, check out That is Not a Good Idea by Mo Willems. This picture book plays on the classic folk story of the sneaky, conniving fox attempting to lure the hapless goose into his soup pot. But with Mo Willems behind the pen, you know that things aren't exactly as they seem!
Chelsey cannot be held responsible for any scribbling, interrupting, or moustache-adding these books may inspire in impressionable children.